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NHL Rink Wrap: Panthers stay hot vs. Flames; Makar’s incredible goal

NHL Rink Wrap: Panthers stay hot vs. Flames

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - JANUARY 04: Radko Gudas #7 of the Florida Panthers celebrates a third period goal by Patric Hornqvist #70 against the Calgary Flames on January 04, 2022 at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Top players from Tuesday in the NHL

Troy Terry, Ducks

Terry netted his first career hat trick during 4-1 win over the Flyers. His three-goal night puts him at 21 on the season, good for third in the NHL. Eleven of his goals this season have either tied a game or put Anaheim ahead.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Panthers

Florida extended its winning streak to four games with a 47-save performance from Bobrovsky during a 6-2 win over the Flames. Joe Thornton scored his fourth of the season, making it 26 straight years he’s recorded a goal.

Juuse Saros, Predators

Filip Forsberg scored twice and Saros stopped 41 of 43 shots faced during a 3-2 win over the Golden Knights. The win helped Nashville leap over the Blues and into first place in the Central Division. It also improved the Predators to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.

Highlights from NHL games on Tuesday

2022 barely started, but Cale Makar might have already scored the goal of the year.

You won’t score a much stranger first NHL goal that Oskar Steen did on Tuesday:

From a first to a regular occurrence, as Marc-Andre Fleury celebrated his return to the Blackhawks lineup with this great save.

Not sure if Wes McCauley’s five for fighting call was that good, but it was fun, and the fight between Givani Smith and Jacob Middleton was rugged:

Johnny Gaudreau could line himself for a big payday with goals like these.

Splendid goal out of the penalty box by Devils defenseman Damon Severson.

NHL takeaways from Tuesday

NHL COVID news from Tuesday

Auston Matthews’ second COVID test came back negative, giving him at least a chance to suit up for the Maple Leafs vs. the Oilers on Wednesday. It’s not yet clear if Connor McDavid can play in that game, either, after he tested positive for COVID on Tuesday. (The Oilers are hoping a second test comes back negative.)

Catch up on that item and other COVID-related NHL news here.

Panthers impress as they foil the Flames

If you want to envision a faster, more thrilling future for the NHL, you could do worse than to bask in some of the most frenetic moments of Flames - Panthers from Tuesday. (Generally speaking, the Panthers tend to force opponents out of their comfort zone.)

By beating the Flames, the Panthers extended their winning streak to four games. They’ve impressed beyond sheer wins, too. They’ve outscored 24-10 during that four-game winning streak, including dropping nine goals on the Lightning. While the Habs were vulnerable in one of those losses, the Panthers’ other wins during the streak came against the Flames, Lightning, and Rangers.

Over and over, the Panthers confirm their status as a team to reckon with.

That said, the Flames may have at least deserved a more flattering score than that 6-2 loss to the Panthers. In a wide open game (high-danger chances at even-strength: 19 for the Flames, 16 for Panthers), Sergei Bobrovsky made 47 saves to exaggerate the difference between the two teams.

Yes, a Flames - Panthers series for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final would be wholly unexpected. But if their Tuesday game is any indication, it would be one of the best championship battles the NHL could muster.

Wednesday’s big story

An Oilers - Maple Leafs showdown that may or may not include Matthews and McDavid

As mentioned in that takeaways section, it’s not yet clear if one or both of Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid might enter NHL COVID protocol before Wednesday’s Maple Leafs - Oilers game.

Of course, it would always be more fun to see that game if those two superstars are available.

Even if they’re not, it should rank as one of the night’s most interesting games. On one end, you have a Maple Leafs team that’s hot (three-game winning streak, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games) after a brief stumble early in the season. The Oilers, meanwhile, feel far removed from a hot start to their 2021-22 campaign. They’ve lost four in a row, are 2-6-2 in their last 10, and plenty of fans are calling for a coaching change.

Could the Maple Leafs push the Oilers further down that slippery slope? Either way, it should be entertaining.

Tuesday’s NHL scores

Bruins 5, Devils 3
Panthers 6, Flames 2
Lightning 7, Blue Jackets 2
Red Wings 6, Sharks 2
Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)
Jets 3, Coyotes 1
Predators 3, Golden Knights 2
Ducks 4, Flyers 1

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.